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  1. #1

    Default The Noob: The Story of a Wanna Be...Canadian Edition

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    Hey guys,

    I saw the original "The Noob:The story..." thread on the site while I was browsing as a guest and thought it was an awesome idea. I really enjoyed reading through all the posts so I thought I would steal the idea and give everyone a feel of how it goes down here in British Columbia, Canada.

    The Program:

    The program here is called the Power Line Technician Pre-Apprenticeship Program and is being offered through the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) and the Electrical Industry Training Institute (EITI). It is 8 weeks long, cost us $8000, and will be held at a new training facility in Abbotsford, BC. At the end of the 8 weeks there is a job fair where employers from across the province are invited to come and watch us work which will hopefully end up landing us a job.

    The Process:

    In order to get accepted into the program there was a orientation, or try out, back in July that myself and about 30 other guys attended. On this day we were required to write a half hour english comprehension test, a 30-45 minute math test, do some readings and answer questions on basic lineman gear, mechanical advantages, climbing techniques, and a few other subjects. While we were do the readings each guy was getting called into the room next door to do a interview with both the instructors of the course that asked us basic question such as "Do you have a fear of heights?", and "Are you able to work in all weather conditions". The process took about five hours and we were on our way back to wherever we came from. It was 9 days later that the 18 of us received an email with an offer for a seat in the program! Before school started we were required to make a trip into Langley, BC to get fitted for our climbing belts. For $2700 we are supplied with all basic tools, climbing gear, bag, textbooks, and everything else we might need for the program. The only exception to this was our boots. After countless hours reading the forums I went into the shop thinking I was going to walk out with a pair of Wescos but my feet told me otherwise. I ended up with a pair of Hoffmans.

    Tomorrow, Monday September 8th 2014, is the first day of class and I am super excited. Class starts at 8:00 am. We have been told that the first week will be basically all electrical theory work and that we should be hitting the poles the following week.

    If anyone has any questions or comments feel free to ask or post. I will try to keep up with my days as much as possible! I hope this helps some who may be interested in a process like this and hopefully it will be interesting for the others that will read just for fun.

    Stay safe out there!!

    To be continued...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    New York, Long Island

    Default good Luck to you

    Sounds like a lot of money to spend and you have no guarantee a spot in the apprenticeship when you're all done. I could be wrong but I don't think most of the guys on here paid to start an apprenticeship (except maybe the cost of your books) .

    But I hope everything works out in the end for you, you have a good attitude!
    "Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity."

  3. #3

    Default Firsy Day

    Well, first day is in the bag! We are now going to be starting at 7:30 and going unitl sometime around 4 for the first week at least. We wont be getting our climbing gear or PPE until next week which is when we will start with the poles and chainsaw safety. We did 8 out of 25 modules on electrical theory today and will have them all completed by the end of the day on Wednesday. Review Thursday and our first test on Friday. We are getting hit with a lot of material so its going to be a lot of studying in my near future (tonight included lol). Today we learned about basic electrical properties, basic circuits (open, closed, and briefly touched parallel) the ohm laws, and work math.

    Thanks for the comment Rob! Im not too sure how much a school in the states like SLTC costs? Maybe someone will have some input on that? $8000 is a lot to put up but I know this is what I want to do so for a job I will love that will give me so much in return it doesn't seem like a whole lot. I just have to keep my head in the books, work hard, and try to do the best I can and hope there is a job for me at the end of the program. In the past the hire rate has been pretty high (last class 11 out of 14 guys got jobs and the three that didn't were not willing to change their living situation, apparently)


  4. #4

    Default First two weeks

    Sorry guys, I have been super busy with school and haven't had much time to get on here and update.

    Like I was saying, the first week of school was all on electrical theory and we had an exam based on all the modules on the first friday. Everyone in the class seemed to do quite well and a few people were in the high 90's as far as marks go. We were taught the basic basic power formula, voltage, about phases and how to calculate three phase to single phase to ground, briefly touched on delta and wye connections, fundamentals of electricity and atoms, etc.

    Our second week was basically all electrical safety and awareness. We touched on limits of approach, read our Occupational Health and Safety Regs, went over BC Hydros rules and regulations, got 4 BC Hydro Certifications (PSSP Levels 2, 3 DBX and TRX) which allow us to work on or near BC Hydro's lines, did some basic chainsaw safety, and on the Friday we got all our gear!!

    Our gear consisted of basic tools such as a hammer, goats wrench, dog bone, adjustable wrench, ruler, pliers, skinning knife, screwdriver, hard hat, gloves, safety glasses, high vis vest, buckingham straight gaff adjustable climbers, buckingham c2000m body belt, dbi sala cynch lok pole strap, buckingham secondary strap, and a tramp bag. A few guys stuck around on Friday afternoon after class to get the first climbs of the year in.

    On monday we dove right into some more climbing first thing in the morning. After about an hour and a half we moved inside to write a test on specialty equipment(mainly the boom truck). We were then split into four groups of four and were sent outside. Each group was responsible for hand digging a pole anchor hole, going through our shed that contains all the distribution equipment that we will be using throughout the course, getting in an hours worth of climbing, and digging/setting two poles using a boom truck from a local contractor (Pacific Electrical Installations). It was a lot to take in and the digging conditions were pretty rough and rocky so 2 out of the four groups will need to spend a third day finishing up the anchor plate hole. We had our second test of the week today on climbing equipment and techniques which seemed to go pretty good. Some tricky questions but that is to be expected.

    We have a few ranges of pole sizes in our yard, from 20ft to 40 ft, and one pole being close to 60 ft tall. We were told today that we were now allowed to give the 60 footer a shot if we feel comfortable. The way I see it is you will only learn by doing so hopefully Ill be at the top tomorrow!

    Like always Ill update when I can. Any questions feel free to ask.

    Stay safe!

  5. Default

    Hey, your story caught my eye. How is the course going so far?

    Have you looked into a trades trainee/pre-app position with BC Hydro or a line contractor?

  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by Northern Wannabe View Post
    Hey, your story caught my eye. How is the course going so far?

    Have you looked into a trades trainee/pre-app position with BC Hydro or a line contractor?
    Hey Northern Wannabe,

    The course is going awesome!There isnt a single day that i dont feel like going to school! As far as looking at contractors and BC Hydro goes I havent done a whole lot up until this point. There are a lot of contractors in bc, close to 30, and then of course bc hydro. The thing about private contractors is it seems to be all about who you know and not the experience or qualifications you have. BC Hydro seems to be the opposite. The thing about Hydro is you have to pass an initial online screening to get a phone interview, pass a phone interview with a random person that doesnt even work for bc hydro that has a list in front of them with certain things you need to say to be passed through to the next round, pass a skype interview with 6 member from bc hydro, then go to the hydro school and compete against 45 other guys for 15 positions. I have heard that the hardest part is passing the phone screening. I myself have had one and didnt get passed it. My fingers are crossed for the opening!

    How about you? Are you working as a tt or app?
    Are you from BC?
    Whats your story?


  7. #7

    Default Busy Busy Busy

    Well its been a long time since my last post again. We have been extremely busy! Especially this last week. Ill start back at the beginning of week three.

    Week 3:

    The week was pretty similar each day. We would show up and do 4 or 5 climbs to get our blood flowing, go inside and write a quiz on the material covered the day before, cover some new material, and by lunch time we were out in the yard for the rest of the day. Week 3 was mainly identifying common parts to a single phase distribution system and installing them. We ran a 6 pole system with dead ends on each side. We had to hand dig some of the holes as a group, as well as hand dig the holes for our anchor rod and plate for the dead ends. Once the poles were set we drilled the holes for the components in the air and then installed everything. We were split up into 4 groups of four. Two guys were to climb and work on the pole while the other two practiced their knotts/handline skills and acted as groundmen. This was done on the 20 ft poles for the first time and then we moved on to the 45's. We have 8 45's in two rows of four. On the 45's each group was responsible for one dead end and one regular pole. This took us to Friday. On Fridays we get out at 12:00 because we chose, as a class, to stay an hour later everyday so guys can make it back home to wherever they are from earlier on the weekends if they decide to make the trek back home.

    Week 4:

    The exact same as week 3 but with three phase distribution system. Start every morining with 4-5 climbs, get quizzed, learn some new material, then out to the yard. We again started on the small poles and worked our way up to the 45's. Each group was again responsible for a dead end and a regular. We got to hang double 9 foot cross arms for the dead end and a single 7 for the normal. After all groups are complete we string wire for the three phases and the neutral. We also installed a ground rod and made the connection to the neutral.

    Week 5:

    An intense week. Week 5 was exactly like week 1 with one exception; we got to climb for half an hour in the mornings.

    Week 5 was transformation theory. We covered all the types of transformers, basic composition, secondary voltage and amperage calculations, kva sizes/loads/tap setting/percent loaded calcs, fuse size calcs, line loss, studied backfeed and had to know calcs for backfeed. We studied connecting transformers in short term parallel, long term parallel, and series parallel. For our test on Friday we needed to correctly wire and test a mini mock up transformer to make sure it is producing the right voltages, hook it up to our secondary lines correctly, short term parallel another transformer, remove the first transformer from service, and install a new larger transformer to replace the first one we set up.

    As a pre app course we were only required to learn about transformers on a single phase system.

    Only three weeks left! I am getting excited to start putting my resume out there and hopefully land a job. In our last week or two some of the private contractors will be coming to watch us work and hopefully will recruit some of us. I have been studying extremely hard and it is definitely paying off in the marks category! I have developed a nice rhythm which has made climbing a lot easier than the first day that's for sure.

    Im assuming week 6 will be the same as weeks 3 and 4 but tieing in transformers and practicing our bonding/grounding.

    Once again, any questions feel free to ask or pm me!

    Stay safe
    Last edited by bcbred; 10-12-2014 at 01:02 PM.

  8. Default

    Hey bcbred,

    I'm an apprentice PLT with hydro. Before I started in the trade I was looking into the contractor route, but happened to get a TT position with Hydro.

    There's definitely some truth to the hiring procedures at hydro, but I think it's the best route if you have a family or are looking to be at home most nights.

    I believe that working for the utility will give you experience in a wide variety of jobs even though they will most likely be on a small scale compared to the large construction jobs that contractors do.

    Keep us posted on how the course finishes and when you start working.


  9. #9

    Default Hydro

    Where about are you positioned with hydro Northern Wannabe? Hydro is definitely my main goal and who im leaning towards for work. I just have to wait for another intake which will be soon hopefully! Hydro has gone from hiring trade trainees to pre apprentices which should make the jump into an apprenticeship a little bit easier. The hardest part will be getting to the point in the interview process where i can show some of my skills that I have aquired over the past 2 months. Just have to keep plugging away!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Northern Wannabe View Post
    Hey bcbred,

    I'm an apprentice PLT with hydro. Before I started in the trade I was looking into the contractor route, but happened to get a TT position with Hydro.

    There's definitely some truth to the hiring procedures at hydro, but I think it's the best route if you have a family or are looking to be at home most nights.

    I believe that working for the utility will give you experience in a wide variety of jobs even though they will most likely be on a small scale compared to the large construction jobs that contractors do.

    Keep us posted on how the course finishes and when you start working.


  10. Default Week 6

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    Well, week 6 is done and which means only two left!! It was a little different then i thought it would be. We didnt end up making it to hanging transformers. Instead we worked on hanging secondary services and doing secondary dead ends/guys. We changed our three phase from a 7' crossarm with skypin to a 9' crossarm with the three insulators mounted to the crossarm.

    We also had two pretty tough tests this week. We had our grounding and bonding test on tuesday and we were tested on the BC Hydro Safety Practice Regulations section 400 (live line work) on friday. I feel like i did pretty good on both of them which is a relief.

    The next two weeks are going to be pretty intense. We are starting the week off with a 2 or 3 day introduction on underground work, moving on to the theory behind secondary services with a test on friday. The following week will consist of a test on all commonly used tools on the Tuesday, the contractors will be coming on the Wednesday to watch us work, a test on all distribution components on the Thursday, and we will write our final exam on the last friday!

    Stay Safe!

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